Human genetic engineering is the manipulation of an individual’s genotype with the goal of choosing the phenotype (Singers 1). This has already been a very controversial issue when it has been done on animals, but tampering with humans takes this issue to a whole different level. It holds the promise of curing genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis and improving the immunity of people to viruses (Konner 4). However, it also opens up a whole new world where the laws of nature can be broken. Parents can choose to change the gender of their baby; they can choose to change their appearance, and they can even choose to change the mental faculties of their baby like memory and intelligence (Sandel 1). This seems like something out of a science fiction movie but with our rapidly increasing technology, it is definitely more than a possibility. The genetic engineering of humans can be the greatest thing to ever happen to us, however, such power can lead to corruption and cause us to regress as beings. Are we trying to make the world a better place for each other or are we just making the world more superficial or should I say artificial? That’s the main question that is asked as the intriguing issue of human genetic engineering is further evaluated.
Human Genetic Engineering: Where to Draw the Line
Perfection is something that human beings really haven’t been able to relate to very well, but thanks to our rapidly advancing technology, that could all change. Human genetic engineering may be the breakthrough we need to tear down the walls that keep us from being perfect. However, there are many questions that need to be answered and things that need to be considered before we attempt to break through the walls. For instance, what if those walls are there for a reason? What if those walls aren’t supposed to be torn down? Maybe they are there to protect us from perfection or perhaps protect perfection from us. A disease-free world sounds good to everyone but what about a world where parents can actually design their own child? What if not only the sex of the baby could be chosen by parents but also the hair color, eye color, intelligence, and even their talents (Sandel 1)? This is the path that human genetic engineering is leading us to; however, our main concern should be where that path will end. Human genetic engineering should be used only to cure diseases or other disabilities and not to the extent where we start treating human life like a computer game. We all should strive to be perfect but we should also have a certain level of respect for life and the lessons it teaches us. Otherwise our quest for perfection will only lead us into destruction.
Jacqueline Vaughn Switzer’s article Assistance and Treatment is about the struggle disabled people go through to fit into society. They are stereotyped as pitiful and pathetic and they are often discriminated against (Switzer 3). There seems to be a prevailing belief in our society where people who are “in need of charity are thought to be incapable of living the same life as others” (Switzer 3). Because of these beliefs and stereotypes, the progress to fully include the handicapped in American life made even more difficult (Switzer 3). The disabled are a minority group and they have fought hard to be recognized as one, however, there’s no doubt that if every handicap had a choice they would choose not to be handicapped whether they were being treated equally or not. No one would miss being blind or being deaf. That’s why Switzer, who is raising awareness for the discrimination of handicapped, would agree with the argument that the use of genetic engineering should be limited to curing diseases and disabilities. The cruelty shown towards the handicapped is the exact reason why we shouldn’t allow parents to design their children. It will just leave us with more inequality because our human nature tends not to show humility and respect for those who are less...
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